December 1st, 2021
The Holiday Season is upon us again. Grossman Young & Hammond is ever grateful to our clients, friends and readers of Transcending BordersSM! In this issue, we cover important immigration updates since September and other Firm news.
- Covid-Related Travel Ban on 8 African Countries
- Employment Authorization for Certain H-4, E and L Nonimmigrant Dependent Spouses
- DHS Announces Fee Exemptions, Streamlined Processing for Afghan Nationals
- H-1B News: “Market Research Analyst” Now a Confirmed Specialty Occupation
- Client Success Story – Child Citizenship Act
- New COVID-19 Travel Requirements: What You Need to Know
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On Monday, November 29th, the White House issued a briefing suspending and limiting the entry of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present in countries where the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected within 14 days preceding their arrival to the U.S. The travel restrictions do not ban flights or apply to U.S. citizens and lawful U.S. permanent residents. The countries included in the ban are:
- Republic of Botswana;
- Kingdom of Eswatini;
- Kingdom of Lesotho;
- Republic of Malawi;
- Republic of Mozambique;
- Republic of Namibia;
- Republic of South Africa;
- Republic of Zimbabwe.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) updated its Policy Manual on November 12, 2021 to allow for the automatic extension, in certain circumstances, of employment authorization for H-4, E, and L nonimmigrant spouses.
- Nonimmigrant H-4, E, and L spouses now qualify for an automatic extension of their employment authorization documents (EADs), when they file to renew the EAD so long as:
- (1) the I-765 application to renew the EAD is filed prior to the expiration date of the original EAD; and
- (2) The spouse has an unexpired I-94 showing valid nonimmigrant status.
- For I-9 employment verification, the nonimmigrant spouse may present as valid evidence of work authorization:
- An unexpired I-94 showing valid H-4, E, or L nonimmigrant status;
- A facially expired EAD; and
- A form I-797C showing a timely filed EAD renewal application (I-765).
- The automatic extension of the EAD is valid until:
- (1) the expiration of the underlying I-94;
- (2) 180 days from the prior EAD expiration; OR
- (3) adjudication of the EAD extension application (I-765), whichever comes first.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it would “immediately take steps to modify” the Form I-94 to demonstrate evidence of work authorization.
USCIS will also consider L and E dependent spouses to be employment authorized “incidental to their status,” meaning that they are automatically work-authorized upon admission and issuance of a valid I-94 document showing L-2 or E spousal status, obviating the need for these individuals to apply for an EAD going forward. This change applies to E and L spouses only.
On November 8, Approximately 70,000 Afghans have arrived in the U.S. as part of Operation Allies Welcome. Following the biggest airlift in U.S. history, DHS exercised its discretion to parole many Afghan nationals, on a case-by-case basis, into the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons. Parolees may apply for work authorization and will also be able to apply for immigration benefits such as Afghan special immigrant status, lawful permanent residence, and asylum.
Additional information for Afghans can be found on USCIS's website.
Our list of resources for Afghan refugees is here.
An October settlement in a California district court marked a major victory for H-1B employers when it prompted USCIS to agree to qualify “market research analyst” as a specialty occupation for the purposes of determining H-1B visa eligibility.
Prior interpretation of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics publication profiling hundreds of occupations in the US job market, did not qualify “market research analyst” as a “specialty occupation.” The settlement allows companies to request that the USCIS reopen and re-adjudicate their denied H-1B petitions for “market research analysts”.
Jeff Joseph, partner at Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP, said "[t]his settlement strikes the right balance between what the regulations actually say and how employers evaluate a candidate's professional qualifications in the real world. It is our sincere hope that USCIS will now interpret other specialty occupations from a perspective that is in line with what actually happens in the free market."
Not all US citizens are born in the United States: citizenship also can be “transmitted” to a person born abroad by their US-citizen parent or, sometimes, their US-citizen grandparent. One way this transmission of citizenship occurs is under the Child Citizenship Act, which we recently used to obtain citizenship for several clients. To transmit citizenship under this Act, the US-citizen parent must have lived in the United States for 5 years, 2 of which were after reaching age 14. If the parent doesn’t meet this requirement, citizenship can be transmitted by a US-citizen grandparent who meets the same requirements. The child obtaining U.S. citizenship must be under age 18 and be living in the custody of their US-citizen parent.
We recently represented several young children who were born overseas to a US-citizen mother who had never lived in the United States. However, her mother (our clients’ grandmother) was born in the United States and lived here continuously into adulthood. Therefore, the grandmother was able to transmit her citizenship to her grandchildren, who recently traveled to the United States and were sworn in as US citizens at the conclusion of a US immigration interview.
Categories: Transcending Borders Newsletter